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Mandelic Acid for Skin : Benefits & Everything to Know

by Rashi Bahel Mehra |

In the ever-evolving skincare industry, it's hard to keep up with the skincare product. Every day, you get to know about some secret ingredient that helps you achieve glass skin. One such ingredient is Mandelic acid. 

But what exactly is mandelic acid? Don't worry—we've got you covered further in this blog post.

What is Mandelic Acid?

Mandelic Acid is a white crystalline solid that belongs to the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) family. Like any other AHA & PHAs it is also an exfoliating agent. In the world of skincare, it is popularly known as a gentle exfoliator. It isn't harsh on the skin nor does it cause any irritation, rashes, or any other side effect. 

Like any other exfoliating agent, it works by loosening the bond of dead skin cells, which accelerates the process of shedding. Compared with others, it is considered a mild and gentle exfoliant.

Mandelic Acid Vs. Other exfoliating agents

Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid & Salicylic Acid are some of the best exfoliants out there. But the real question is which one is suitable for you? 

Mandelic acid is twice the size of glycolic acid, which makes it harder to penetrate the skin. However, its gentle on the skin & can be preferred instead of glycolic acid.

Benefits of Mandelic Acid

Gentle Exfoliator: Mandelic acid has smaller particles than other exfoliating agents, such as glycolic acid & alpha arbutin. Due to its large size, mandelic acid can't penetrate deeper but can still shed the upper layer of skin. It is also used in chemical peel solutions for people with sensitive skin. 

Treats Acne : 5-10% of  mandelic acid can be used to treat moderate to severe acne. It has mild exfoliating properties and also heals post-acne scars, furrows and wrinkles. 

Reduce Pigmentation: Mandelic acid, combined with other ingredients, treats pigmentation and melasma. Its exfoliating properties fade dark spots and skin discolouration and improve skin texture. 

Anti-ageing: Mandelic acid initiates cell turnover, which sheds dead skin cells and replaces them with new cells. This significantly reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

Benefits of Mandelic Acid


How to use Mandelic Acid ? 

Here are a few ways to incorporate it into your skincare routine 

Chemical Peels: Use mandelic for 5 minutes weekly to get rid of pigmentation and dark spots. It also boosts collagen and skin rejuvenation, making skin visibly lighter. 

Face Cream: Regularly applying mandelic acid-based creams reduces hyperpigmentation & dark spots. They are also effective in cases of sun damage and ageing. 

Face Wash: Mandelic acid containing face wash cleanses the face with the benefits of mild exfoliation. Its content in any face wash is slightly lower in most face wash. Therefore, it is suitable for cleansing, not particularly exfoliation. 

Serums: The concentration of serums is about 5%- 10%, which works faster in cases of hyperpigmentation, dark spots and acne. Remember, only use twice a week to prevent over-exfoliation. 


Before making any decision, don't forget these few points:

Don't skip sunscreen: Like any other lightening agent, even mandelic acid increases sun sensitivity; therefore never forget to apply sunscreen before using mandelic acid. 

Patch Test: Conduct a patch test before incorporating mandelic acid into your skin care routine. If you experience any side effects, stop using it immediately. 

Skin type: It is most suitable for sensing acne-prone skin, while people with oily, normal or dry skin may use the more vital exfoliating agents to achieve the same results. 

Start with Low Concentrations: Skin needs to develop capacity for AHAs and PHAs, so it is recommended to start with low concentrations.

Never use mandelic acid above a 10%- 15%  concentration without dermatologist supervision. Consult a dermatologist if you develop irritation, redness, itching, or any other side effects. 


A dermatologist says using mandelic acid at 5%-10% concentration is absolutely safe and effective for skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne. There are rarely any side effects, even on sensitive skin. 

You start using  face creams, serums, or face washes based on your skin type and the skin concern you are targeting. For expert advice, consult your dermatologist.  



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